Shelli’s Travel Rewards Card Picks

Full Disclosure: We may be compensated when you click on links to credit card products from our advertising partners, such as American Express, Chase & Barclays. Opinions on this site are ours alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by the issuer. See our Advertiser Disclosure for more details. Thanks!

I’ve partnered with Upgraded Points because the site has the most detailed, user-friendly online miles and points guides that they keep regularly updated.

I write on the blogs Travel With Grant and Point Me To The Plane. Besides contributing to these blogs I am a health and fitness entrepreneur who travels the world in search of culture, food, and fun! You can also find me at Joy In Movement.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

The most valuable credit cards for me have flexible rewards programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards that have both airline & hotel transfer partners, and solid points for cash travel awards.

My Ultimate Rewards points go to:

  • Star Alliance carrier flights for my travels both to Asia and Europe, booked with United MileagePlus
  • Stays at Hyatt hotels where I maintain my Globalist status
  • Southwest Airlines flights for trips within the US

I pool points earned from my personal and business Chase cards, maximizing category bonuses such as:

  • 3x travel on the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Ink Business Preferred
  • 5x category bonuses of the Chase Freedom and Ink Business Cash
  • 1.5x everywhere ease of the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Ink Business Unlimited

My Recommended Chase Personal Cards

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • 50,000 bonus points
  • That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide.
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95
Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Earn $150 bonus
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases & balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.99% - 25.74%.
  • Annual Fee: $0

My Recommended Chase Business Cards

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
  • Earn $500 bonus cash-back
  • Earn 5% cash back in select business categories
  • Earn 2% cash-back on the first $25,000 (combined) spent at gas stations and restaurants each year
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.24% - 21.24%
  • $0 Annual Fee
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points
  • That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 in select business categories.
  • Annual Fee: $95

American Express Membership Rewards

The American Express Membership Rewards program is also great value for me because of their many transfer partners:

  • Air France KLM Flying Blue Program is a good choice for West Coast flights to Europe
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is useful for awards on Delta that can be much cheaper than Delta charges
  • ANA Mileage Club is an underrated Star Alliance program
  • Air Canada Aeroplan works great for Star Alliance, too, on airlines where surcharges are not added
  • British Airways Executive Club is great for short-distance flights on Oneworld airlines and Alaska Airlines
  • Choice Privileges is a great value for stays in Europe with breakfasts often included

The new American Express® Gold Card is incredible for spend at US Restaurants as well as US Supermarkets. See the details below!

If relaxing and having some downtime at airports is a benefit you’d use, the Platinum Card® from American Express comes with many benefits, one of which is Centurion Lounge access.

I’ve used Centurion Lounges all over the world and they’re great!

Airline Credit Cards


The Southwest Companion Pass may just be the best deal in the whole world of travel!

The introductory bonus on the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Card (learn more) counts toward earning your Companion Pass.

The card also includes priority A-group boarding on four flights annually. See here for more info about the Rapid Rewards cards.


The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card (learn more) is one I’ve had for many years. I never miss using the annual Companion Fare benefit from the card which is a free buy-one-get-one ticket in economy class. The primary traveler must pay the fare, but the companion pays just $99 plus taxes and fees.
The certificate is easy to apply to your fare and more than worth the annual fee!

Hotel Credit Cards

There are a few hotel credit cards I use for my preferred hotel chains!

Capital One

For anyone who spends a significant number of nights in hotel rooms, the Capital One® Venture Rewards Credit Card (learn more) can work well for you.

The card nets 10 points for every dollar spent at and also offers 2 points on all other purchases.

The annual fee is $95 per year, waived the first year, but this includes a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee waiver.

The points (Capital One actually calls them “miles”) can be redeemed at a fixed one-cent rate for credit on your statement against any travel purchase.

Like other travel cards, the Capital One® Venture doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees which is a nice bonus.


The World of Hyatt Credit Card (learn more) is a favorite of mine, earning 4pts per $1 spent on purchases at all Hyatt Hotels and 1 free night every year.

New from Hilton

The refreshed lineup of Hilton cards is worth a look, especially the Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express, The Hilton Honors American Express Card or the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card for giving Hilton Honors Gold status and their earning potential.


With the merger of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest into one hotel program, the hotel choices now number 6,700!

‘No Brainer’ Cards for Businesses

For business owners, the American Express Blue Business℠ Plus earns 2x points everyone up to $50,000 per year and has no annual fee, yet can transfer to all Membership Rewards partners. An incredible value!

For those who prefer cash back, the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card is a great small business option with 5x at office supply and 3x at a category of your choice.

Shelli Stein - Sydney
Sydney is just one of many fun destinations to explore in Australia!

My Travel

I travel both America and the world for business and pleasure. I use rewards credit cards to maximize my spending, and then turn around and use points and miles to travel more for less than I ever thought possible.

Miles and points mean that when I travel I can spend longer in each place immersing myself in the local life and culture — and using them can also afford me many wonderful opportunities to see family and friends more often.

Always on the Lookout for More Rewards and More Travel

Smart investment of time to maximize rewards on personal and business spend can pay off in ‘once in a lifetime’ trips again and again!

Shelli Stein
Have you ever co-piloted a small plane? In Botswana? Over the delta? Neither have I, really. But as part of my safari experience last year when we went from safari camp to camp, the pilot of our small six-seater airplane let me sit in the co-pilot seat right beside him. WOW, what fun, especially those take-offs and landings on what was barely more than a strip of dirt.

Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. For more information on our advertisers, see here.